As SXSW 2012 draws to a close and an army of British acts pack up their kitbags for the long trek home, PRS for Music’s Jules Parker looks back at a week of musical mayhem.
From the launch of the annual British Music Embassy to the rise of British folkies in Texas and Ed Sheeran conquering the US, this year’s showcase was packed full of all the drama and excitement we’ve come to expect from the world’s biggest music showcase.
Here’s his view of SXSW 2012, picture gallery below...
The first day proper of the music part of SXSW kicked off with loads of panels on digital marketing, syncs, publishing and pretty much every subject relevant to bands trying to get somewhere right now.
Sounds from France included new act Gush – definitely ones to watch.
The British Music Embassy launch party brought in a packed house to Latitude 30, with industry insiders from all around the world crammed in to see export ready acts such as Frank Turner, Ben Howard and The Staves. Also today, the PRS for Music and Raw Power showcase with The Xcerts and Charlie Simpson, who did very well indeed.
The main focus point today was the panel Success Strategies for the UK. We had about 80 people in the room, giving US bands, managers, smaller labels and promoters practical ideas they could use to help them out when trying to export their acts.
Also today was the opening of the Reeperbahn Burger Joint – hurray! The Reeperbahn festival took over one of the favourite local burger places, offering a chance to meet industry from across the world.
The Bedford has again taken up residence at Creekside in the Hilton Garden Inn, welcoming more acoustic artists into a quieter and more intimate setting than is usually on offer at SXSW. 1am saw Ed Sheeran play a secret show there, taking US fans by storm.
Then Sneak Attack Media from New York threw a great party featuring Reptar from Athens, Georgia and Madi Diaz from Nashville. Good stuff.
Today there was an MMF meeting for UK and USA managers, which brought people together to kickstart regular discussions on issues that affect artists, writers and managers directly. It was hosted by Adam Tudhope, manager of Keane and Mumford and Sons, and the MMF.
The British Music Abroad brunch showcased three of the acts that we funded to get across to the USA; D/R/U/G/S, Spectrals and Dutch Uncles. It was a fantastic gig.
As ever, at any one time there are more things happening at one time that would ever be possible to get round. Friday afternoon's parties included The Orchard, Fader Fort, Sonic Bids, Filter and Spin Magazine. Spin's was at the Stubbs venue with a great line up of Chairlift, The Big Pink, Best Coast and Santigold.
Meanwhile, Sonic Bids closed with UK act Clock Opera, who again played an amazing set; the fifth of seven shows out in Austin.
I took the chance to head out of the centre of town with the Northern Irish Music contingent to sample a barbecue place providing classic Texan cuisine - pretty much just four types of meat…
Communion, the label/live brand set up by Ben from Mumford and Sons, had its showcase on Friday night at St David's Historic Sanctuary, a new church made to look old on the second story of a building – bizarre! The event featured Michael Kiwanuka, The Staves, Ben Howard and Daughter. All of them wowed the predominantly American crowd.
Also that night The Cult put on a secret show at the Chevy Sound Garage to promote their new album. There were some hardcore fans queuing for a long time to see the band in such a small venue…
Daytime was fairly chilled out, which gave me time to check out the Fader Fort east of the I-35. It was brand-heavy but incredibly popular, with SUBTRAKT blasting out a daytime-friendly set.
I took the chance to see some US acts at the Filter afternoon party. New band Oberhofer and Built To Spill provided some stoner-heavy 90s indie.
Saturday night is always the busiest night, but with an estimated 10,000 extra visitors for 2012. And, with it also being St Patrick's Day, it was extra-specially crazy on the streets, feeling much like a war zone! To get round you really needed to work out routes avoiding 6th Street.
Highlights included Michael Kiwanuka at Stubb's, Django Django at the British Music Embassy and new US act Mikal Cronin.